Gerry Odrowski

Gerry Odrowski put the well in well-travelled.

Let's see if we can get all the teams he played for, in chronological order of course:

Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Hornets (AHL), San Francisco Seals (WHL) with a short stop with the Quebec Aces, Vancouver Canucks (WHL), Oakland Seals, San Diego Gulls (WHL), Phoenix Roadrunners (WHL), St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Sharks (WHA), the Phoenix Roadrunners now in the WHA, the Minnesota Fighting Saints (WHA) and finally a short stint with the Winnipeg Jets (WHA).

Odrowski could have grown a complex over teams moving him all the time. But the worst had to be when Odrowski had to leave an Oakland Seals game vs. the New York Rangers with an injury. Odrowski remained in hospital because the Seals left town and forgot to arrange for him to come home.

Aside from that moment, the kid from Trout Creek, Ontario sure seemed to enjoy hockey in California. But he never stayed with one team very long. The longest stay was four seasons with the San Francisco Seals, which made him an obvious choice to join the Oakland Seals when they joined the NHL in 1967.

Former Seals teammate Kent Douglas called him "a beauty - he was one of a kind. He gave 150% on every shift. I've never seen anybody sweat like him. He worked very hard and was deceptively quick."

Odrowski was a stay at home defenseman who at times in his career, most notably in Oakland, killed penalties as a forward (with Charlie Burns). He was widely respected by his teammates for his hard work but also his great sense of humor. That sense of humor must have been relied on a few times in the Seals sorry history.

A self described "average hockey player," one thing Odrowski was not known for was scoring goals. In 309 NHL games he scored just 12 goals (and 31 points). In 282 WHA games he lit the lamp 16 times (plus 114 assists for 130 points).

Odrowski was easily identifiable because of his bald head. He began losing his hair at the age of 10.

"Nobody knows what caused it," he recalled. "For a while other kids called me 'baldy' but four or five years later it started to grow back, and I figure by the time I'm 65, I'll have a full head of hair just when everybody else will have lost theirs."

As a youth Odrowski was coached by long time NHL star (and member of Parliament) Bucko McDonald. It was Bucko who taugh Odrowski how to play defense.

"If it wasn't for Bucko, I would have never made it in hockey."

Odrowski was described "an efficient passer who was tough to get around in his own end." That sounds pretty much just like Bucko McDonald when he was a hard hitting player with the Leafs. He later went on to coach many young defensemen, including a young Bobby Orr.

Odrowski left the game behind in 1976, but not on good terms. He sued the Jets because he felt they failed to pay him a $12,500 bonus. He did eventually settle the suit but never got much money for it.

After retiring from the ice Gerry went to work for his brother Tony in North Bay selling automotive parts. He later got into politics serving on city council in South Himsworth Township, Ontario.


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